The most obvious way to increase your fee income is by targeting existing clients in the right way. Nicola Draper offers some words of advice.
In my last article, I explained why practices that market themselves properly are the most profitable and command a higher price when the time comes to sell up. I also outlined good PR practices that can help accountancy firms get the exposure they need to drive new prospects. However, as any accountant worth their salt will know, it’s not just about attracting new clients. In order to become a profitable practice, you have to look after the clients you already have – not just to keep them as clients for the future, but also to generate more fees from them for value added services.
A business guru once said ‘it costs seven times the amount to get a new client than it does to retain an old one’. Offering extra services or simply upping your game on service levels can often work wonders.
Stay in touch
How often do you contact your clients? Several accountants I know never talk to clients from one year to the next – they only contact them if they have a query. They don’t even send a letter or email to remind them they need to get their accounts in by X date if they want their returns filed on time. They never contact them to tell them of Budget changes which may affect them or changes to the law. It doesn’t have to be weekly or even monthly calls to small clients, but some contact is essential.
Your work for larger clients is likely to lead to more contact anyway but that doesn’t mean you should neglect the minnows. They may become very successful and suddenly they become a big client. They may have friends and colleagues who need an accountant and if you have reasonable contact and have built up a good relationship, you could say you are looking to grow and take on more clients and ask them to pass your name around.
One proactive accountant I know emailed all his clients with information on the recent changes on accounting rules for holiday homes. Most clients with second homes were unaware of the changes and they were very grateful for the alert. Some did not have second homes but knew someone who did. There was no immediate financial return for his time and advice in the short term, but his reputation and relationship with clients was enhanced and he did get leads to some potential new clients.
Article written by Nicola Draper from Draper Hinks.
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